Airline Pilots Teaching Hospitals How to Avoid Costly Mistake of Leaving Objects in Their Patients After Surgery

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Foreign objects are left inside thousands of patients each year during surgery; many hospitals are following best practices of aviation safety to correct this problem.

No human is perfect. Working harder or paying closer attention will not prevent the majority of medical errors—innovative safety systems and skills are clearly needed, and an aviation-based patient safety system can provide them

A Central Florida physician recently had to go before the Florida Board of Medicine for a medical error he made on a female patient during surgery.

Eight days after her hysterectomy, the 38-year-old woman was experiencing severe pain and returned to her surgeon to find the cause. Her doctor discovered a bulb had been left inside her body after the surgery. Unable to remove the bulb during the examination, a second surgery was required to extract it.

This patient was just one of the estimated 1,500 patients per year in the U.S. that have objects left inside them after surgery. Most require a second surgery to correct the error.

Patients that require a second operation to remove an object left in their body are at high risk for complications such as tears, obstructions, and infections, says SixWise.com.

To prevent these types of errors from occurring, hospitals are implementing error-catching safety systems originally developed by the aviation industry.

“No human is perfect. Working harder or paying closer attention will not prevent the majority of medical errors—innovative safety systems and skills are clearly needed, and an aviation-based patient safety system can provide them,” says Captain Steve Harden. Harden is the president and co-founder of LifeWings Partners LLC, a team of physicians, former astronauts, and pilots that have been helping hospitals improve their patient safety systems.

After implementing the LifeWings safety system, one hospital was able to reduce their incidences of retained objects from surgery by 75%. Another LifeWings’ client, after six wrong surgeries in a single year, eliminated that problem with the LifeWings system.

“With this type of system in place, the inevitable errors of the human care provider are detected, trapped, and corrected before they become costly or harm the patient,” adds Harden.

About LifeWings Partners LLC

LifeWings Partners LLC (http://www.SaferPatients.com) was founded by a former U.S. Navy Top Gun instructor, a commercial airline pilot, and two physicians who are former NASA astronauts. The firm specializes in applying aviation-based teamwork training and safety tools to help healthcare facilities save patients’ lives and reduce costs. LifeWings has helped over 50 facilities nationwide provide better care to their patients.

Contact

Steve Harden, President

LifeWings Partners LLC

800.290.9314

9198 Crestwyn Hills Drive

Memphis, TN 38125

http://www.SaferPatients.com

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Steve Harden
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